Dagg Family History

By Christopher Bretz


This is still a work in progress.


Our George family line owes a lot to a number of Irish immigrant families from Borrisokane, Tipperary. The Daggs, Blackwells and Wall families ...

To the right is a handwritten Dagg family tree from Pearl George.

From the Dagg Family website by Jann Cullen;

From about 1655 to the late 1680’s, lands began to open up in Northern Tipperary, and were granted in the main to Cromwellian officers, and to a lesser extent, soldiers.  According to A. Murray Robertson’s research, in about 1660 two Dagg brothers were granted lands near Borrisokane; they are believed to have been junior officers.  Unlike the more senior officers, who often sublet or sold their grants, the Dagg brothers kept their land and set about creating a legacy that would go down throughout the centuries and across all the continents of the world.  Most of the Dagg families with Tipperary ancestry likely came from one of these two original brothers.


Richard Dagg (~1765-bef 1837) is the oldest family member the Canadian Daggs have been traced to. He was born around 1765 in Ireland. His wife was known as Esther. Richard widowed Esther sometime prior to her own death in 1847, but it is not believed he travelled to Canada with her, meaning his death would have been before 1837, when Esther likely traveled with her son Thomas to the New World.

From the Dagg Family website by Jann Cullen:

Richard and Esther Dagg may or may not be the parents of Thomas Dagg. Although no solid proof exists to substantiate this point of view, there is some circumstantial evidence which supports this claim. Richard and Esther are also claimed to be the parents of Jane Dagg, of Goulbourn, who married Francis Abbott. This claim is based upon a newspaper obituary marking the death of Esther Dagg, widow of Richard Dagg, who reportedly died near the home of her son-in-law, Francis Abbott. There are as many viewpoints on the relationships between these early Daggs as there are Dagg researchers. Accordingly, Richard and Esther Dagg are included here with this disclaimer.



Thomas Dagg and Susan Farmer
Born in Borrisokane, Tipperary, Ireland in 1793
Married Susan around 1825 in Ireland. Susan's family were from the county Cork in Ireland.
Had 4 children, 3 boys and 1 girl
Immigrated to Canada in 1837 (44) during the potatoe famine
Died at Huntley, Carlton, Ontario in March 1848 (55)
Susan died Feb 1870 in Carlton, On (76)

John Dagg and Ellen Wall
Born in Ireland in 1826
Was a farmer
Immigrated to Canada in 1837 (11)
Married Ellen in 1856 in Ontario (30)
Lived at Russell, Ontario in 1891
Lived at Russell, Ontario in 1901
Died in Russell, Ontario in 1907 (80) heart disease
Ellen died in 1910

From the Dagg Family website by Jann Cullen:

Acknowledgements: This section contains some loose extracts from Bruce Elliot Irish Migrants in the Canadas: a new approach

The war of 1812 struck a note of fear in Britain, and it was apparent that in order to counteract the very real threat of U.S. invasion, Britain would need to quickly colonize Canada with settlements of industrious farmers, loyal to the British crown. The Colonial office also realized that it needed to offset the growing emigration to the United States. Accordingly, the government offered a limited period of government-assisted emigration to Canada. Although a few of the early emigrants had received assistance from the Crown , it quickly became apparent that most of these farmers were well able to pay their own way, and government assistance dried up by the early 1820’s.

Richard Talbot, a gentleman from Cloughjordan, applied to the Colonial office in 1817 for land grants in Canada, enclosing a petition containing 71 names of “Loyal Protestants” and their families who wished to emigrate with him. After months of wrangling……it was agreed that the Government would pay the cost of transportation and provide land grants to every adult male of the group. Talbot put together a group of several dozen Protestant families, and after many long and costly delays, they finally sailed from Cork on June 13th, 1818, on the brig “Brunswick”, arriving in Montreal 43 ½ days later.

These settlers arrived in Canada with no clear idea of where they would settle, and quickly found that they were at the mercy of a frustrating government bureaucracy. They spent 5 days in Quebec, trying to organize transportation to York, 500 miles away. They found that the government was unwilling to provide them with any boats, and any further transport would have to be at their own expense. The expense of another long journey, with no final destination yet determined persuaded two of the families to remain in Montreal. Another 15 settlers decided to accept an offer for land in Richmond, in the OttawaValley, and left the group as well. With nearly half of the original group having deserted, the remaining 19 families travelled on to York. An arrangement was finally agreed upon that the group would be given lands in the London District, then on the northern edges of the civilization.

These two Talbot colonies in London Township and the Ottawa Valley created the core of what was to be the main areas for Northern Tipperary emigration to follow. Richard Talbot’s successful settlement in Canada gave rise to a wave of “chain migration” that brought hundreds more Protestant families to Canada over the next several decades. Sharing a common origin and cultural background, once inCanada they tended for the most part to cluster into small groups of related families within fairly confined geographic areas. New emigrants usually chose to settle in an existing Tipperary community, near relatives of the same surname. Dagg, Hodgins, Neil, Blackwell, Loney, Guest, Abbot, Butler, Spearman, Farmer, and Wall are all inter-related names that show up together over and over again in various settlement colonies.

After the establishment of the Talbot Settlement, emigrants from Northern Tipperary began to flow into Canada at a steady rate. Nearly all seem to have come to Canada to settle near relatives. Bruce Elliot states that “ The largest numbers of emigrants to arrive in any individual years seem to have come in 1818 and 1819.” “In the early 1830’s…..the number of Tipperary immigrants reached an all time high….” It is interesting to note that the highest concentration of emigrants to Canada came from Modreeny parish, and from areas nearby. As many as 40% of the entire Protestant population of Modreeny parishemigrated to Canada! Nearby Borrisokane had nearly equal numbers; as you moved farther away geographically from these areas, the rate of emigrants diminished. Most of the Tipperary Daggs who emigratedto Canada came from in and around this area.

In the Ottawa Valley, the early Tipperary Daggs settled in: Huntley; Goulbourn; Renfrew; Lanark; and Pontiac Co., Quebec. In the London area, Daggs settled in: Biddulph; Kincardine; London; and Port Burwell. One renegade group of Daggs from Nenagh settled in Ops Township, in the Peterborough area. Although we know much less at this point about the Wicklow Daggs, one large group settled in Kitley (Leeds County) while another group settled in Ernesttown (near Brockville). (Many of these seemed to use the name “DACK” and “DAGG” interchangeably.)

One of the saddest things about the massive emigrations from Ireland, both Catholic and Protestant, is that often those who left were the best and the finest, taking their talents and their industries with them, leaving their old homeland all the poorer for their absence. George Atkinson, a Justice of the Peace for Cloughprior, commenting on the Protestant emigration noted that “they were of the most decent class of farmers, and possessed far the most money; they received no assistance; they were people that did not require it.”; and, “They are also mainly confined to the class of respectable yeomen, whose industry had procured for them a small capital; the very description of person who is most wanted at home….who, even if they carried nothing with them, would be in themselves a loss.”

By the early 1850’s, there was a huge decline in the numbers of Protestants emigrating from Northern Tipperary to Canada. This same time period saw a corresponding increase in emigration to Australiaand New Zealand, introducing a shift in the migrational pattern that effectively ended the 30 year influx of the Protestants of Tipperary to Canada. Our ancestors had arrived.

Thomas Dagg and Susannah Blackwell
Born in 1853 in Russell, Ontario
Lived at Russell, Ontario in 1861. Spent most of his life here.
Married Susannah in Renfrew, Ontario on 30 June 1885
Had 6 children between 1888-1896. One set of twins.
Lived at Russell, Ontario in 1891

Moved family to Manitoba.

Canada's CPR transcontinental railway was finished in 1885.

Moved west to Manitoba around 1893, settling first around Belmont, then by 1899 near Neepawa.

Canadians in the east wanted more land, as there was a growing feeling that the best available land, especially in Canada West (present-day Ontario), had already been claimed. George Brown, a father of Confederation, founded his Clear Grit Party on that very notion. On the other hand, the people of British North America wanted to establish a presence on the prairies in order to keep the Americans out. The government of Canada's policy was for increased immigration to the praries and was hugely successful. The North-West Territories grew to a population of 56,446 in 1881 and almost doubled to 98,967 in 1891, and exponentially jumped to 211,649 by 1901.

The immigration boom ushered in an era of prosperity and growth. Winnipeg grew rapidly, becoming the major urban centre for western Canada and earning the nickname “Chicago of the North.” Manitoba farmers, aided by reduced freight rates, higher world prices for wheat, and improved strains of grain seed, enjoyed unprecedented prosperity. Manitoba’s economy was transformed during the early part of the century. A strong agricultural sector, diversified among wheat and other grains, livestock, and market gardening, provided the basis for a rapid increase in the commercial and industrial economy, especially around Winnipeg. Manitoba’s boundaries expanded westward in 1881, eastward in 1884, and northward in 1912, mainly at the expense of the Northwest Territories.

With the settlement of the Canadian prairies, the western breadbasket was born. That process would be augmented four years into the new century with Charles Saunders' Marquis wheat strain. This one innovation made wheat cultivation possible in the more northerly reaches of the Canadian Prairie.


Lived at Rosedale, Manitoba in 1901
Susannah died in Rosedale in 1905
Lived at Portage la Prairie, Manitoba in 1906
Lived at Lacombe, Alberta in 1916
Died in 1924 in Ontario


Ethel Jane Dagg was born on May 29th, 1888 in Russell county, Ontario, likely in Cumberland township near Navan, to Thomas and Susan Dagg. She was the second of seven children, but was the eldest as her older sister Violetta Angelina died as an infant.

Her family moved west to Manitoba around 1893, settling first around Belmont, then by 1899 near Neepawa.

In 1905, the federal government created two new provinces: Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Ethel met Arthur George through her aunt Violetta, who was married to Albert Clark, a first cousin of Arthur.

Ethel married Arthur George at Springhill, Manitoba on October 23rd, 1907 at age 19.
Named 2 of her sons after her brothers. Orville and Russell.
Lived in Springhill from before 1901-
Lived in Kelwood 1908-

In 1916 Ethel and Arthur moved their family to Lacombe, Alberta where he worked in her father's livery stable. Their son Orville was born there. The family returned to Kelwood the following year.

Lived in Kelwood in 1917
Lived in Lansdowne in 1922-30?
Lived in Neepawa around 1930+

Ethel died in Neepawa March 16th, 1949 at age 60. She was buried at the Riverside cemetery in Neepawa. Her husband Arthur would live on for many years, but would be buried beside her in 1976.